Why not drive Chicago to Denver?
As holiday season and 2014 were coming to an end I new I was going to hit a lull in business. Trunk show after holiday show, after trunk show, it's the busiest season and I was working day and night. January seemed like an appropriate time to soak in all the successes of 2014, reflect on the past, and plan for the future. I decided to drive out to Denver, Colorado because why not?
Once I set my mind on something and I know its solely up to me to accomplish it, it gets done. My sister Stephanie lives in Denver so this trip was not out of my reach. The driving part would be the biggest challenge, but where there are challenges there are rewards. This trip was going to be on my own time, and I had to throw some productivity and fun into it so I also made it about ARAE.
Starting my journey in Madison, Wisconsin to visit my best friend (as I promised her months ago) for New Years Eve and her birthday, it was a great time. We explored Madison together, walked around the city, spent time at local coffee shops, had my first Old Fashioned, and of course I sought out possible stores for ARAE A/W 2015. I had a small sale which helped to support on-the-road expenses to get to Denver.
I left Madison extremely early on a Sunday to get to my next stop, Minneapolis, Minnesota in time for the shops to open. I was actually blown away by the amount of pocket shopping areas and neighborhoods in the Twin Cities there was so much to see! I spend 2 full days driving store to store and to different areas to get as much as I could out of the city and try to make sales along the way. I could have spent more time there but it was negative zero and I was anxious to move along. I stayed with Kathleen Carter, a friend of my mentor's, who ended up buying a glove and scarf set for everyone she knows! That was a great sale and would sustain me long after I got to Colorado. I didn't anticipate selling to stores being so hard since winter technically just started, but the buying season is indeed over. I was a little discouraged, although I did get my gloves into one store on consignment, Poppy in Saint Paul. So after I analyzed everything, I redirected my energy not only on selling, but also on finding new stores, getting display ideas, working on my pitch and being comfortable talking about my company, connecting with the buyers and owners, and getting my brand and story out there.
Minneapolis was the place that was the farthest out of my way to Denver, and I was getting antsy about getting to Colorado. I was actually thinking of driving straight through and skipping Iowa City and Omaha/Lincoln. I didn't even know where I was going to stay in Nebraska! But low and behold, everything always organically works out in my favor. Kathleen, my Minneapolis host, set me up with a connection in Omaha. I was going to stay with her niece's friends for a night.
I was literally in Iowa City for 10 minutes and left to go to Omaha. A 5 hour drive for 10 minutes of a visit.. I knew there wasn't going to be much in Iowa City but on top of that, the streets were bad and my Toyota Camry wasn't liking it. So off to Omaha, another 4 hours.
I made it on time to visit the stores in the Old Market shopping area which were really cute. I could actually see ARAE in some of the stores so I'm glad I spent some time there. For dinner I met up with the girls I was staying with and they set up their couch for me to spend the night. A perfect last night on the road. For their generosity I let them pick out some gloves, which they loved. And off Denver bright and early!
I broke into the Colorado boarder and was so happy I started to cry! I couldn't believe I made it all by myself on this random trip filled with lots of unexpected events! Life is so about the journey it blows my mind every time I think about it and reflect. I just drove and explored 4 different areas in different states all by myself. I felt so accomplished, but a different kind of accomplishment that I've ever felt. Hard to explain. But I felt so right in Colorado, maybe because my sister is here and she's my best friend, maybe because I was close to the mountains and nature's beauty, all of the above, I was so excited and the butterflies in my stomach have still not gone away.